I was sick of eating backpacking food. Someone had thoughtfully left some oily sardine tins at the campsite at Sid's Prong saddle, so bears were even more on my mind. Then I noticed the bear scat on the trail,but I somehow convinced myself it wasn't bear scat. In the night we heard large animals and the sound of breaking branches, I convinced myself it was elk. I dreamed something was holding my leg and woke up in a terror. I have seen bears in the Black Range: on East Railroad Canyon, on Turkey Run and a close encounter on the Mimbres River. Alas, it was not meant to be on this trip.
The last leg along the crest was shady and pleasant,if a bit up and down, in contrast to the nearly shadeless stretch from the previous day.We arrived at Boardgate Saddle and began down the road. It was hot. We drank the last of our water and rested in the shady spots.The hills were very steep.They were meant for jeeps not feet. Still, we had a sense of triumph, of accomplishment. It was by far our longest backpack and our first loop.And loops in and of themselves are always more satisfying than an out and back.The truck started. I didn't have flat. I went for a gander at the less than scenic Mcknight Cabin, and then started down the merciless Mcknight Road, happy.